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Inbox: They're gonna call it

Hold your own, and build for better


William from Madison, WI

I still flinch whenever I recall the time I submitted a dumb question to Ask Vic and was severely chastised for my trouble. Memories make us twitch.

Nicely done.

Lowell from Tuscola, IL

I am befuddled and befiddled. In the matter of minutes, my two II trump cards are stolen. First, someone suggests an II dumb question day. I figured that was my best chance to get something posted. Then, even worse, someone spills the beans on my biggest up-the-sleeve back-pocket ace-in-the-hole, the Packers beat the Dolphins in that '72 season. I'm left with nothing but the might-have-beens of my Favre play-action fake-jump-pass ball-on-his-hip play.

All's fair in love and the Inbox.

Sean from Baltimore, MD

Best modern-day football player from DIII? Sorry Wes, but I'd go London Fletcher.

He's probably the best modern-day 5-foot-10 front-seven defender, and the 5-10 listing might have been generous. Others brought up UW-La Crosse's Tom Newberry, a two-time All-Pro. Great pick there, too.

Elyada from Boca Raton, FL

I've been reading the Inbox every day for a couple years. I'm 14 by the way. My question is how many tight ends do you think the Packers will keep on their roster and how many tight ends will suit up? In my opinion the Packers have four starting tight ends with a lot of receivers. Also how many receivers do they keep and who suits up? Thank you, Wes and Mike, I really appreciate it.

At this point I see the Packers keeping four tight ends but having only three dress on game day. The receivers question is much harder to answer because the total number kept will be influenced by numbers kept at other positions. As I've stated in this space before, I'm of the opinion available receivers are in abundance, on every roster, so if there's a position most likely to slip through waivers to bring back on the practice squad, it's receiver.

Jack from Naperville, IL

Insiders, with public practices coming to an end, where does the J.J. Watt bike-break rank in your top training camp memories of all-time?

I unfortunately didn't witness it, but as all the years continue to blend together over time, that and the walking boot will be the longest-lasting memories of camp in '19.

Russell from Deerbrook, WI

With the last public practice for the Packers Monday, it seems earlier this year than past years, and do other teams also finish public practices around the same time?

I can't speak to anything other teams do, but for the Packers this is early. There's usually been one last public practice after the third preseason game. But as far as the total number, there was actually one more public practice this year than the last couple of years.

Evan from Hiles, WI

Who is the player to watch for Thursday's game against Oakland?

I think it's Trevor Davis.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

Mike, with a QB coach, an O-coordinator and the head man involved in the offense, who does what when it comes to coaching ARod, designing game plans and coming up with the planned play sheets? Yes, I know they all participate but how do they divide work so they are not overlapping?

LaFleur hasn't specified, but when it comes to game plans, assistant coaches generally prepare one portion (third down, red zone, short yardage, etc.) and bring it to a collaborative meeting where everything is discussed, adjusted and put together, with the head coach having final say. From what Rodgers has discussed, it sounds like all the coaches you mentioned have been in on film sessions with him as the new offense has been installed this spring and summer.

Malcolm from Fennimore, WI

Is this your first trip to Canada?

No. I recall staying at a hotel in Canada at some point as a kid while on a family road trip, but the details were lost in the fog of childhood slumber.

Lucky from Valcano, HI

Insiders, I really enjoy your column as it always contains reality, humor and family, a great combination. Vic used to refer to the start of the season as Training Camp Part II. I was wondering how you view the first few games of the season?

September is the month of overreactions and egregious takes. The wins and losses all count the same, but they reveal little about how the team will be playing in December and January. Hold your own, and build for better.

Hunter from Bacon Level, AL

Insiders, with the Packers' season starting in two weeks against a strong division rival, let alone the oldest rivalry in the NFL, would it be safe to say the starting lineup is already decided save some freak injury?

Not exactly. I don't think the second inside linebacker spot is set in stone yet, and Tyler Lancaster and Montravius Adams are still battling for the third D-lineman in base. I'm not sure the Lane Taylor-Elgton Jenkins competition has a declared winner, either.

Jim from Rockford, IL

How is Cole Madison doing? It was nice to hear he valued his mental health over a paycheck. Really rooting for him to make the team but have heard very little on him. Being away from football for a year really seems to have set him back. Is he a bubble guy now?


Larry from Bakersville, NC

Good morning, Mike/Wes. Aaron's back problem has really brought the reality of the Packers' quality of backup QBs to the forefront facing them in the event of Aaron's injury being a continuing issue which might limit his availability to play during the upcoming season. In all honesty, what do you think of the Packers' chances to possibly trade Kizer and Boyle along with perhaps another player to obtain a veteran QB with real, proven NFL experience? Out of the question?

No one's going to trade a proven, experienced QB for Kizer or Boyle and another player the Packers would be willing to give up at this point. Gutekunst said on Monday the backup QB is likely on the roster.

George from Milwaukee, WI

Guys, there's no doubt Trevor Davis is a talented football player. That being said he has never been healthy. If he plays well in the last two games, do we give him a roster spot based on his ability and keep a potentially healthy and talented receiver off the roster, with the likelihood that he will never be healthy for an entire season or even the majority of the season, or do we go with some new blood there?

Based on what I've seen from Davis through the spring and summer, he can be an effective role player in this offense with a skill set others don't have. His injury in camp had nothing to do with last year's health troubles, and he's a proven return man. I believe he possesses greater potential value than others who might take his roster spot.

Lance from Grafton, WI

What are your thoughts on the "Good, Bad, and the Ugly" types of stories analyzing preseason games?

I only care about my own, for which I attempt to give an accurate account of the performance and a reasoned analysis of any implications, and post it for the masses as quickly as possible.

Dave from Comer, GA

Mike, thanks so much for the Larry McCarren fun fact! Who knew?

Several readers had suggested providing one before camp ended. I didn't want to let y'all down.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

All rookie players have a "welcome to the NFL" moment, whether it be in practice or on game day. Does this also apply to rookie head coaches? If so, what did those moments look like for Holmgren and McCarthy? What do you think that moment will look like for ML?

I wasn't covering the team in '92, but I'm sure it was a bit sobering for Holmgren, after a hard-fought overtime loss in Week 1, to go down to Tampa and get blasted 31-3 in his first road game. McCarthy's debut was also mine in this job, and a 26-0 shutout loss at home to the rival Bears, bookended by a long TD pass less than three minutes in and Devin Hester going the distance on a punt, couldn't have felt good. It'll happen to LaFleur, too, at some point. Coaches spend their careers dealing with losses. The biggest difference as a head coach is you have to answer all the questions with cameras in your face afterward.

Todd from Winona, WI

I don't ever remember having four preseason games and the first regular-season game all on Thursday nights. If you count the preseason that's the first five games and six of the first eight games on Thursdays. That can't help getting into the Sunday rhythm or is that not a factor?

It's not about a Sunday rhythm but a seven-day routine, and LaFleur scheduled these last two weeks of camp for that routine with the opener in Chicago on a Thursday night. The bigger adjustment will be in Week 4 with the short turnaround between the Denver and Philly games, but at least both are at home. That helps.

Josh from Houston, TX

Mike, you and Wes are on different pages. You said "hitting the guy head-on [is] irrelevant," but Wes told Dean from Leavenworth, IN, "you can still deliver a blow as long as the defender is lined up square to you." The situations in question were different, but I agree with Dan that the "butt block" is a bit too much like soccer for my taste.

I think Wes meant to say as long as the defender is lined up square to the line of scrimmage, meaning he's in front of the play, not behind it. As a blocker, if you're facing the same way the ball is going, have at it. But if you're moving laterally or the opposite direction of the ball, I'd suggest a "butt block" to avoid a flag. They're gonna call it.

Todd from Brighton, MI

C. Benson and the Fail Mary game. Thanks for the reminder. I did forget his role in that game.

I didn't have the stats in front of me for "Unscripted," but I went back and looked them up. He carried 10 times for 48 yards on the first two drives of the second half, both of which ended in field goals, to get the Packers back in the game. Then he finished off the third drive with a 1-yard TD plunge. His final numbers actually looked worse because of multiple TFLs in the fourth quarter, but after the eight first-half sacks, he had forced the Seahawks' defense to play honestly the rest of the game.

Cindy from Los Angeles, CA

Hi Insiders! Why do you think Curtis Bolton went undrafted? Was it purely the injury he sustained?

The ankle injury cost him his redshirt junior year, so his final season was his only one as a starter in college in a conference not known for defense. Plus at 6-foot, 228 pounds, he's undersized for a traditional inside linebacker.

Matty from Durango, CO

Please settle an argument with my brother Stan from Merrill. I say the preseason is primarily for evaluating which players to keep on the team. Stan says it's more for preparing younger players for the season. If you HAD to choose, who wins?

These days I side on the preseason games being more about evaluation than preparation.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

I don't care for the FB label on Vitale. Sure, he's a big dude but he carried the ball a lot at Northwestern. Think function, not position. This kid can run, pass and block. He's RB3 when healthy.

He can pass, too? Wow. I'll have to study his spiral.

Brad from Northport, MI

Mike/Wes, so now that public practices are over will we still be getting daily updates from practice, or are you guys also banned? Also has there been any uptick in tackling drills? Thanks for all the great work you guys and your support staff do to keep us all informed.

It's now regular-season rules, which means we only get to view the opening portions of practice, and none of the 11-on-11 work. Post-practice press conference by the head coach and locker room access will continue as usual. We will also keep producing a "Three Things" every day there's practice until the end of camp, but it won't be shot on the field as practice concludes. It'll be later in the day, in the studio, after we've absorbed the day's media access.

The Packers took to the practice field before heading to Canada to take on the Raiders.

Bob from Verona, WI

During one of the preseason games on Sunday, CBS put up graphics of the most notable players who are on new teams this year. Za'Darius Smith didn't make the list of notable defensive players, which doesn't entirely surprise me, but I still found it interesting. The Packers have paid him as an elite defender, so let's hope they've bet correctly that he is an ascending player. Actual performance on the field means a lot more than a TV graphic.

It means more than a player's salary, too.

Chris from Stony Mountain, Manitoba

I'm very excited for the game this week, being able to see it so close to home (I live just outside Winnipeg). I hope Packer fans and the II faithful don't view the crowd this week as an indictment of the Canadian fan base, our passion, support or our true numbers. The ticket prices were simply too high for many fans to deal with. $1,500 for a family of four (good seats) for a preseason game has sabotaged what would have been a full stadium. Fans watching need to know that.

I couldn't believe the initial ticket prices for this game when it was announced. I don't know how anyone thought Canadian fans, who have their own professional football league, would pay that to watch watered-down NFL preseason action. A huge miscalculation, and now that ticket prices dropped, I feel for those who were gouged.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

I know there have been a bunch of UDFA success stories on the Packers, but has anyone ever gone from UDFA to Week 1 starter in his rookie year? That would be quite a feat if Curtis Bolton can pull it off.

Sam Shields did it in 2010. The Packers opened in their nickel defense and Shields was the third corner.

Oscar from Cottage Grove, WI

Since practices have moved behind closed doors and the Packers are working on more opponent-specific material, have the coaches decided on the 53-man roster? Are the last two preseason games for bubble players to make a statement?

Decided? No. Statements? Indeed.

Rod from Ephrata, PA

Will the Packers score a rouge against the Raiders?

Happy Wednesday.